An Overview of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

An Overview of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

February 21, 2023

How To Proceed With a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Losing a loved one in an accident is tragic. Not only do you have to deal with the emotional impact of your family member’s death, but you may also struggle financially without their income. Even though your loved one has passed, your mortgage, car payment, utility bills, and living expenses haven’t gone anywhere. Learning to live without your loved one is already hard enough, and you don’t deserve to go bankrupt because of their accidental death. With that in mind, if someone in your life has died in an accident resulting from someone else’s negligence, then you need to check out this guide on filing a wrongful death lawsuit to get the compensation that you deserve.

What Qualifies an Accident as a Wrongful Death?

If you can prove that another party’s negligent actions contributed to your loved one’s death, then you may have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The negligent party can be an individual or an organization. If you’re not sure whether you have a viable case on your hands, then you should reach out to a qualified lawyer for a consultation. The surviving spouse, children, domestic partner, grandchildren, and anyone else who has received significant financial support from the deceased can file a lawsuit.

Can You Sue the Negligent Party?

In California, anyone can sue anyone else for almost any reason. As long as you genuinely believe that someone’s negligence caused the accident that led to your loved one’s death, you can sue them. However, even though you can sue someone, there is no guarantee that you will win. You only have two years from the date of your loved one’s death to sue the negligent party.

Should You Sue?

Your life is more difficult now that your loved one is gone, and they can no longer provide an income to support you or your household. Although you may feel apprehensive about suing someone, their negligent behavior has directly affected your quality of life and financial future. By suing the responsible party, you can get the compensation necessary to support yourself. Thus, filing a lawsuit is likely the best option for you and your family.

How Do You Sue the Responsible Party?

First and foremost, you need to have standing to sue. If you don’t truly believe that someone else’s negligence led to your loved one’s death, then you have no grounds to sue. After determining whether you have standing to sue, you must figure out which party you’re going to file against and where you’re going to file. This may sound simple, but in many cases, determining who is liable for a death or injury can be very complicated, so you should contact an experienced lawyer to figure out the best course of action.

Once you know which person or entity you want to sue, you have to find out their legal name and address. With this information, you can submit a summons, a complaint, and a civil file sheet to the relevant court to officially begin the process. Then, you need to serve the defendant with a copy of the complaint to give them an opportunity to prepare their defense. All of this paperwork can be extremely difficult for someone without extensive experience in the legal field to fill out properly, so it’s worth consulting a lawyer to ensure that your case moves forward in a timely manner.

What Damages Can You Receive Compensation For?

If the court rules in your favor, then you will be eligible for compensatory damages, which can cover economic and non-economic losses. Economic losses include the financial support that the deceased would have contributed to the plaintiff’s household over their lifetime, funeral expenses, burial expenses, the value of the deceased individual’s household services, and the loss of benefits resulting from your loved one’s death. Non-economic damages cover the loss of companionship, moral support, training, guidance, protection, and affection following the death of your loved one. California law does not allow plaintiffs to recover punitive damages in wrongful death cases.

Do You Need an Attorney?

Representing yourself in court is usually a terrible idea. The defendant is likely going to have a skilled legal team on their side, and their lawyers will do everything in their power to prove that their client was not responsible for your loved one’s death. A qualified attorney has the time, resources, and experience necessary to craft a compelling case in your favor.

What Can You Do To Strengthen Your Case?

Communicate With Your Attorney

Your lawyer needs a large body of evidence to prove that your loved one’s death resulted from negligence and has impacted you and other survivors. Thus, to help your lawyer, you should tell them about all potential sources of evidence that can bolster your case. Evidence can include eyewitness accounts, personal conversations with the deceased, security camera footage, emails, text messages, voicemails, and any other information that could prove the defendant’s negligence.

As soon as you come across a piece of evidence or think of something that could benefit your case, share it with your lawyer. Even you’re unsure about the usefulness of a piece of information, you should still discuss it with your lawyer. At the end of the day, the smallest bit of evidence may tip the scales in your favor, so you must remember to follow up on all leads. The legal process can be very intimidating, so don’t be afraid to approach your lawyer with any concerns. Your lawyer wants to help you succeed in court, and they will be happy to address any questions that you may have.

Remain Calm and Focused

Losing a loved one is difficult, and you may feel intimidated or overwhelmed by the legal process, but it’s extremely important to maintain your composure during this crucial time. All of your actions will be under a microscope once you file a legal complaint, so you need to conduct yourself properly in court and avoid any emotional outbursts as you proceed with the case. With the right lawyer on your side, you can prove the other party’s negligence in court and get the compensation that you deserve for your loss.

Follow the Court’s Rules

Court cases involve a ton of deadlines and procedures. Failure to act in accordance with the court’s standards can ruin your case. Therefore, you must follow your lawyer’s instructions and ask for clarification if you don’t understand the court’s procedures and expectations. Most importantly, you should never intentionally testify with false information, fabricate evidence, or conduct yourself dishonestly during the legal process.

Don’t Discuss the Case With Friends or Family Members

The defendant’s lawyer is going to gather as much evidence as possible to defend their client. They will likely interview people who were close to the deceased and try to get them to testify in the defendant’s favor. The defendant’s team may use social media posts, conversations with friends and associates, and any other communications against you in court. Even the tiniest piece of information about your loved one’s actions or the events surrounding their death can seriously undermine your case, so you should not discuss anything remotely relevant to the case with anyone other than your attorney.

A lawsuit won’t bring your loved one back, but it can ease the financial burden resulting from their absence. You need enough money to live a comfortable life, but that may not be possible without your deceased loved one’s income and benefits. You don’t deserve to suffer financially for someone else’s mistake, so contact Avian Law Group today to start building your case so that you can receive a fair settlement.

Posted by

Michael Avanesian

Michael Avanesian, the founder and driving force behind Avian Law Group, is a passionate and dedicated attorney with a strong background in personal injury law. As a partner at JT Legal Group, Michael led the growth of the personal injury practice from a single employee to a team of over ninety professionals, securing over $2 billion in settlements for clients in just three years.

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